Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2015 Father's Day Devotions in lieu evening service at Tulsa Bible Church

This family devotion guide was prepared to replace the normal evening worship service on Father’s Day with a family worship time.  It has a selection of activities so that you can choose the parts that work best for your family.
I.  Opening Prayer
II.  Scripture Reading: Psalm 103:1-18
III. Lessons From Psalm 103
IV.  Family Activities to reinforce the lesson
(Hymn suggestions)
V. Closing Prayer Time

A few tips:
· Plan a time when everybody can participate.  Make sure everyone in the family knows not to make plans for that time.  Keep it short. Keep it simple.
· Just the act of having a family devotion or worship time says something to your kids about what is important.  It can be a challenge to make it an enjoyable and profitable time, but that will never happen if you don’t try.
· Make your preparation simple.  Read through the lesson ahead of time, think about applications for your family, and you will be adequately prepared.  (No long study sessions needed.)
· Include everyone, even the young ones. It is so important to include your little ones in this family time, so use different approaches that are age appropriate.  As your children grow and mature, they will learn to sit quietly during the devotion time. 
· Let  the children interrupt and ask questions at the right times. This is not a sermon. Let everybody ask, speak, tell, share, and participate. You want to know what they are thinking and understanding.
· Let them be children. They’re fidgety. They’re impatient. They’re children. Try to keep a semblance of order during this time together, but be realistic and patient. 
· Turn off all electronics. I know this may seem like a given, but it needs to be mentioned.

I. Prayer:
· The leader (probably dad) should start this time by asking God to bless your time together. 
· You might also want to encourage the family to take turns thanking God for something they appreciate about Dad.

III. Scripture Reading:  Psalm 103:1-18  
· Verse 13 reminds Dads that their example teaches children about God’s compassion.  Even the best dads make mistakes and sin, but God is our perfect compassionate Father.
· In the first section David focuses on what God has done for himself personally.  In the second section he focuses on what God has done for the people of Israel.  The last section emphasizes that God is understanding of our weaknesses.
· Read Psalm 103 in sections (verses 1-6, verses 7-12, and verses 13-19).  As you read, have your family listen and write down what Psalm 103 says God has done.  Have your family help you to  compile the list on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or paper after each section is read, briefly explaining each one.  Use your voice to highlight God’s specific deeds.  Some of them are highlighted in the text.  You may want to read it twice. 
Psalm 103 (nlt)*
1 A psalm of David.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me.         3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.  4 He ransoms me from death
and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.  5 He fills my life with good things.
youth is renewed like the eagle's!  6 The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.  8 The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.  9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.  10 He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve.  11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.  12 He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.  14 For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust.  15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.  16 The wind blows, and we are gone -- as though we had never been here.  17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children's children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
* We have provided the passage in the easy to understand New Living Translation.  If your children are older you might prefer to use another versions like the English Standard Version.

III. Lessons and applications
· forgives all my sins”:  Our sins have separated us from God, but we can have redemption  and forgiveness through Christ’s blood.   When we believe in Christ, we are forgiven.  When the believer sins, there is a promise for us.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Since God has forgiven us, we should forgive others.  (Isaiah 53:6; Mathew 18:21-35; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:9)
· “fills my life with good things”:   The Bible tells us that God satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good things.  Some of these good things, like food, a place to live, clothes, etc., meet our physical needs.  God has also blessed those who trust in Him with spiritual blessings and the future joys of Heaven that we look forward to.  God’s generosity to us should make us want to be generous to others.  (Psalm 107: 8-9 ; Matthew 6:25-26; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
· “is slow to get angry”:  Even though God is just and will punish sin, there are many examples of God waiting and giving second, third, and fourth chances, etc.  Even today He is showing patience by waiting for more people to trust in Jesus before He returns.  God’s longsuffering is designed to lead us to repentance.  Patience is also fruit of the Holy Spirit that God wants us to have.  (2 Kings 17:7-14; Romans 2:2-5; Galatians 5:22; 2 Peter 3:9)
· “gives righteousness and justice”: God has a special place in His heart for those who are defenseless and get taken advantage of.  The Old Testaments repeatedly told Israel and Judah that God would defend the poor.  Are we kind to and protective of the defenseless? (Jeremiah 22:3 ; Proverbs 22:22-23; 24:10-12; Luke 4:18-19)
· “understands how weak we are”:   The people of Israel (like us) were unfaithful to God over and over.  They complained and whined, but God was patient because He understood that they were weak.  We have a good God who sees us, knows us, and has compassion on us.  Do we have an understanding and tender heart toward others who are weaker? (Psalm 78:36-39; Ephesians 4:32; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 5:6-8)
IV. Family Activities : Below are some activities that will help reinforce the theme.  Pick one or two of these that will work best for your family.
· Compassion means to know that someone is sad and hurting and to do something about it.  One way to show compassion is with a note or card to someone who is going through a difficult time.  Take a few minutes to write encouraging notes in a card for someone who is having a difficult time.
· Distribute white paper hearts and crayons/markers/colored pencils.  Have everybody choose one of God’s deeds to illustrate.  Have them write the phrase on the bottom of the paper and draw the picture on the top.  Put them on the fridge as reminders.
· Our Heavenly Father is the “Father of Mercies.”  Have your family brainstorm ways that God can show His love through them (doing chores without complaining, helping a younger sibling, visiting someone who is ill, praying for people, etc.)  
· Pick “teams” and give them 3-5 minutes to come up with a charade that acts out the specific deed.  Have them act out the deed for the group to guess.
Thanks to Tony Kummer and his web site for some great ideas for this family devotion.

(Optional Hymns)  
· “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” by Stuart Townend
· “Faithful,” by Chris Tomlin (
· “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” by Thomas O Chisholm
· Ask your dad for one of his favorites. 
· You can use,, or to find the words.

V. Closing:
· A father should remember that he was a husband first, and one of the best things he can do for his children is to love and cherish their mother.  His example will help set the tone for the whole family.
· The father should take a few minutes to speak words of blessing and encouragement to his wife and children, and then close in prayer for them.  If the father is not available, mom or an older child can close in prayer.
Bible Trivia about Fathers: Who am I?
1. I sacrificed my children, but finally repented when I was imprisoned.  Who am I?   
2. Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch were my beautiful daughters?  Who am I? 
3. My family was punished because I honored my sons more than God.  Who am I?  
4. I was like a father to a woman who saved the Jews.  Who am I? 
5. I had a hairy son who liked to hunt and cook.  Who am I? 
6. I spoke 3,000 proverbs, but was a terrible example.  Who am I?   
7. My son called the religious leaders “a brood of vipers.”  Who am I?
8. T is the first letter in the names of my two true sons in the faith.  Who am I?
Q: What did baby corn say to mama corn?
A: Where's popcorn?
Q: What do you call your dad when he falls through the ice?
A: A POPsicle!
Dad Quotes:
MICHELANGELO'S Father: “Mike, can't you paint on walls like other children?  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?”
GOLDILOCKS' Father: “I've got a bill here for a broken chair from the Bear family.  Do you know anything about this Goldie?”
THOMAS EDISON'S: “Father: Of course I'm proud that you invented the electric light bulb, Thomas. Now turn off that light and get to bed!”

Trivia answers (1. Manasseh- 2 Chronicles 33.1, 6, 11-12;  2. Job– Job 42:14-15; 3. Eli- 1 Samuel 2:29-32; 4. Mordecai- Esther 2:7;  5. Isaac– Genesis 27:1-4;  6. Solomon- 1 King 4:32; 11:6;  7. Zacharias- Matthew 3:7; Luke 1:59-60;  8. Paul– 1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4)